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The Economic Impact of Mount Rainier

Northwest Feature

Information Provided by Kathy Steichen

A new National Park Service (NPS) report shows that more than 1.4 million recreation visitors to Mount Rainier National Park during 2017 spent $50.6 million in communities surrounding the park, resulting in a net impact to the economy of approximately $63.5 million. This spending supported about 621 jobs in the local area, not including the 100–105 permanent and 175–185 seasonal staff working directly for the park and another 450–500 commercial concessions service employees working in or near the park.

Over the past five years, visitation to Mount Rainier National Park has steadily increased, and the park anticipates this trend to continue in the summer of 2018.

“Mount Rainier National Park welcomes visitors from around the Pacific Northwest, across the country and around the world,” said Superintendent Chip Jenkins. “National park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy, returning ten dollars for every dollar invested in the National Park Service, and it’s a big factor in our local economy as well. We appreciate the partnership and support of our neighbors and are glad to be able to give back by helping to sustain local communities.”

The information for Mount Rainier National Park is part of a peer-reviewed visitor spending analysis conducted by economists Catherine Cullinane Thomas and Egan Cornachione (US Geological Survey) and Lynne Koontz (NPS). The report shows $18.2 billion of direct spending by 330.8 million park visitors in communities within 60 miles of a national park. This spending supported 306,000 jobs nationally; 255,900 of those jobs are found in these gateway communities.

The cumulative benefit to the U.S. economy was $35.8 billion. According to the 2017 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging/camping
(33 percent) followed by food and beverages (28 percent), gas and oil (12 percent), souvenirs and other expenses (10 percent), and admissions and fees (10 percent).

 For more information,  please visit nps.gov/WASHINGTON.

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